Practical Thread Magic

When I come to teach to a group, there's always a frantic rush of questions and concerns. I don't play with the same toys other quilters do. Though I talk about that at length in class, I thought it would be helpful to have that information available in a blog. So here we're going to discuss the nuts and bolts of the kind of thread work I love and teach. We'll discuss products, choices, threads, fabrics, tools, stabilizers and all the things that make my work work for me, and will help your work work for you.

If you have an upcoming class with me, you should know I bring almost all of the things I use for your needs. If you want to try something you've got, absolutely bring it. But if you're having trouble finding it, please don't stress. I'll have it there for you.

About Me

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Would You Like To Have A Class With Ellen?

Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Melida at 405-735-3703 .to set a date
Saturday, February 13, 2010

No-Tears Ripping

I really am tired of certain fantasies. My least favorite is that the world has some sort of perfect somewhere and the rest of us our just falling down somehow.

Please.  Real boats rock. Dip. Sometimes roll over. The question is not will it happen. It's what will you do when it does.

To that effort, I offer my favorite frog-stitch tools. (Rip it, rip it, rip it.) Everyone has a moment from time to time where they stitch down something in a way they wished they hadn't. For zigzag stitching, I recommend the Wahl Half Pint Mustache Trimmer. This little wonder works on a double AA battery. You turn it on, turn it over and shave across the stitch. Turn it off. Turn the piece over and use the blade head to brush off your stitching. That simple. Be still, my beating heart. There are several versions of this available at .

The small blue seam ripper is a surgical seam ripper. The flat blade slips right under straight stitching and lifts it right off. You'll find these at Nancy's Notions .
Of course there's lots of thread fluff after you rip. Take some masking or packing tape, tape the surface and the fluff comes off. You're ready to sew again. If you have big holes from your stitching, steam iron your piece and they should shrink right down.

If you have a local store that carries these, please support your local store. It's a treasure that deserves your support. They make your community. Make sure you support them, so they can be there for you.

Wrapping it up:
Remove zigzag stitching with a mustache trimmer.
Use a surgical seam ripper for straight stitching.
And don't let any one tell you it never happens to them.
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bling bling bling! Angelina and Crystalina, The Sun the Moon and the Stars!

Every so often something comes out that completely changes your world. Don't think that's comfortable. It's marvelous, but like ice water down your back on a skillet-hot day, it's a shock. So sometimes it takes a bit of time to even try it.

Angelina fiber was like that for me. Pat Winter brought me a  little envelope of it that must have sat in my studio for around 9 months before I got to it. If you don't know Pat's work, you need to. She's at Winter Gatherings, and her crazy quilting is like no one elses'.

Angelina Fiber is a test tube baby. Crystalina is a coarser version.I believe it's lurex, but it does resemble Easter grass. It looks like cotton candy in far too bright colors. That's all before you iron it. Afterwards it's the most reflective shiny bit of sunshine,flower petal or moonshine you could imagine.

I've used a lot of different sheers, organzas, laces and lame's for light. Angelina came along and those lights went dim.
How  do you use Angelina?
First you arrange it on a non-stick pressing cloth. It comes in colors that can be mixed. You can add little thread bits if you put strands of Angelina over top of them.
Iron it on medium heat with a non-stick pressing cloth over the fiber. The pressing cloth will help protect the fibers from burning. The brown ones actually are specially for Angelina, and work even better.
Here's what it looks like ironed. After it's ironed, take Steam-A-Seam 2 and pat it on the back. You can cut moon, star, flower, or sun shapes after that to your delight.
Peel off the backing paper and you have moon crescents. Place them on your quilt and iron them again with the pressing cloth.
You'll find Angelina and Crystalina at Textura Trading
Ellen's book, Dragonfly Sky gives full step by step instructions on making Angelina moons, or see her video on YouTube

Monday, February 1, 2010

Who bent my scissors? Pelican Applique are bent for a purpose

Probably the oddest tool I bring out of my bag at a class are my pelican scissors. These are not little scissors with pelicans on the handle( although I've seen something awfully close to that and it was cute.) These are scissors that are bent oddly and have a bill.

These are my warhorse scissors. They were originally made for rug workers. The bill in was made flat so you could cut the loops of the rug evenly. The bend makes the blade slip right along the edge where you're cutting.

What I love these scissors for is appliqué. You can cut directly on the line, as close as you need. I use them for almost everything. They're perfect for cutting shapes, cut-away and mole` appliqué and for those sad moments when you need to cut mats out of your cat's fur. Momo thinks it's a dreadful idea, but then again, he doesn't want to be brushed either.

Joking aside, and the cat trim is not a joke, they're perfect for cutting an edge you need to stitch around. The closer you can cut the edge, the tighter and neater your stitched edging around it will be.

Do I have a separate pair for paper? That would assume I was organized enough to find two pairs of scissors at the same time. I'm afraid that doesn't happen.I just buy a bunch of them and use them until something awful happens to them.

Sadly, they do not come in a left-handed version. It is unfair, and I apologize.

Gingher makes the best version of these and they're worthy. You can sharpen them on a stone, if they get dull. Don't drop them, though. They can spring out of alignment, and that's the end of that.

Amazon has them available. They're listed as

Gingher G-6R 6-Inch Knife-Edge Appliqué Scissors

But it's always best to buy from your local sewing store if you can. You're local store is a treasure that deserves your support and patronage.

Wrapping it up:Pelican appliqué scissors are perfect for just that, cutting the best appliqué edge.


Essential Embroidery Stitches

Essential Embroidery Stitches
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